Drug distribution is the sale, transfer, exchange, import, or export of illegal drugs. Drug distribution or drug trafficking and illegal import of drugs is a very serious crime. The penalties for drug trafficking can depend on several factors such as the amount of drugs being distributed, the area the drug was distributed, and other factors such as whether children or dangerous weapons were involved during the distribution.
Drug distribution is a felony and is a more serious crime than drug possession. When a person is charged with drug distribution, the police believe that the person has possession of drugs with intent to sell them. Usually a person is charged with drug distribution when they have large amounts of drugs and cash in their possession with other tools and properties that would help them sell or distribute the drugs.
What Are Some Examples of Drug Distribution?
Drug distribution covers a variety of different illegal activities, including:
- Shipping drugs via mail
- Transporting drugs via car, boat, plane or other mode of transportation
- Selling drugs to another
- Giving drugs to another
- Advertising the sale of drugs
- Coordinating the transport or sale of drugs
What Types of Drugs Are Illegal?
As part of the Controlled Substances Act, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified drugs into five schedules – Schedule I through V. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive street drugs that offer no medical use, whereas Schedule V drugs are prescription drugs that have a low risk of abuse. Federal laws prohibit the illegal distribution of Schedule I-V drugs. Many state laws either adopt the DEA Schedules or create their own. States and federal agencies prosecute the illegal distribution of these drugs.
Prescription drugs, such as many of the drugs classified as Schedule V drugs, can be legally sold and bought if they are sold by an authorized pharmacy to a person with a valid prescription.
Common illegal drugs include:
- K2/Spice/Synthetic marijuana
- LSD, acid, and other hallucinogens
- Prescription painkillers
- ADHD medication
- Psychotropic prescription medications
- Muscle relaxers
- Sleeping pills
What are Drug Distribution Penalties?
Drug distribution is usually a felony, though this varies based on jurisdiction. A felony is a serious offense punishable by at least 1 year in state or federal prison.
Drug distribution penalties will vary based on the type and amount of drug. The illegal distribution of Schedule I controlled substances is punished more harshly than the illegal distribution of Schedule V controlled substances. In addition, larger amounts of drugs are punished more harshly than smaller amounts.
Distribution penalties generally incur periods of incarceration ranging from one year to ten years in prison. In addition, fines may be ordered that range from $100 to $10,000.
Penalties can be heightened if certain aggravating factors are present. These include:
- Prior drug arrest history
- Sale of drugs to a minor or on school grounds
- Distribution while armed
- If children were involved
- The classification of the drug being distributed
Drug distribution cases often involve civil forfeiture of assets. In civil forfeiture, the state, federal agency, or municipality responsible for your prosecution will be permitted to permanently seize assets associated with the crime of distribution. This can include monetary proceeds from drug distribution, buildings used as grow houses, or vehicles used to transport the drugs.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Drug Distribution Arrest?
If you have been arrested, the prosecutor is building a case against you and is determined to secure a conviction and prison time. In order to thwart the prosecution’s efforts to lock you up, you need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer will review the unique facts surrounding your case, evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s case, and craft a defense strategy customized to your circumstances and goals.